Doctor of Philosophy
Intelligent Polymer Research Institute
Auricular cartilage of the ears exhibits poor regenerative properties. Current treatments to regenerate auricular cartilage are inefficient and expensive. Biofabrication is a multidisciplinary field and has emerged as a viable alternative to regenerate cartilage for auricular cartilage reconstructions. Bioprinters extrude cell-laden bioinks to create anatomically accurate shapes and structures, which can facilitate favourable cellular functions and extracellular matrix (ECM) formation. Auricular ECM production in vitro remains a challenge due to complex stem cell differentiation and acquiring healthy chondrocytes for correct cell function. This thesis is aimed at regenerating cartilage ECM in customised bioprinted scaffolds to mimic that of native tissue. Additionally, studies conducted within this thesis have shown that cell cultures encapsulated in customised gelatine methacryloyl/methacrylated hyaluronic acid (GelMA/HAMA) scaffolds can produce the ECM components of auricular cartilage. Comparing customised GelMA/HAMA bioinks revealed that softer matrices provided more favourable MSC chondrogenic differentiation outcomes. This thesis also concluded that co-cultures of allogenic MSCs with healthy septal PCs can be used to replace monocultures; reducing the necessity of large biopsy sites required for harvesting PCs. In cartilage, elastin is an infrequently investigated protein, with its biological role and presence reported inconsistently. This thesis revealed that septal cartilage ECM contains elastin and for the first time, that septal chondrocytes produce elastin in vitro. The successful production of auricular cartilage ECM components highlights the potential for this research to be investigated further for clinical studies. Future work should investigate the GelMA/HAMA bioinks with greater cell densities. This can be achieved with bioreactors to facilitate the cartilage maturation process. Additionally, extended clinical studies can assess the long-term stability, efficacy and efficiency of cell-laden bioprinted scaffolds in vivo.
Posniak, Steven, Fabrication of Bioinks to Regenerate Cartilage for Auricular Cartilage Reconstructions, Doctor of Philosophy thesis, Intelligent Polymer Research Institute, University of Wollongong, 2022. https://ro.uow.edu.au/theses1/1576
FoR codes (2008)
1004 MEDICAL BIOTECHNOLOGY, 0601 BIOCHEMISTRY AND CELL BIOLOGY, 0604 GENETICS, 1099 OTHER TECHNOLOGY
Unless otherwise indicated, the views expressed in this thesis are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the University of Wollongong.
Full version of thesis is under embargo. Embargo release due 19th May 2024.